It was Father’s Night on Mother’s Day for Aidan as he dedicated the win to his baby daughter, Lucia, who was born less than three weeks ago.
“This programme has been amazing,” he said, on being declared the winner. “It’s blown the country away. I’m delighted to be part of it. It’s not about the glitterball; it’s about everyone else here. Thank you to everyone.”
Or as a winning Kerry sportsman might put it:Tá an-áthas orm an corn seo a ghlacadh.”
Aidan’s wife Denise travelled up from Kerry to the TV studios in Bray, spending her first Mother’s Day in the audience as her other half competed for the title.
Aidan was a favourite with the viewers, if not the judges, proving that you can be a winner and a loser at the same time. In Showdance, their last dance of the final, Aidan and his professional partner Valeria Milova received 30 points from the judges, but their total of 80 from three performances was the lowest on the night.
Red Rock actress Denise McCormack scored perfect scores in all of her dances, giving her a total of 90 with her partner Ryan McShane, while Aoibhín Garrihy and Vitali Kozmin received 88.
Although she failed to win, Denise described herself as “ecstatic” and welcomed Aidan’s triumph.
“I feel really happy. Aidan is such an ambassador for young kids in this country. He’s an amazing guy and I love him to bits,” she said after the show.
One of the favourites to win, 29 year-old former Fair City actress Aoibhin Garrihy, scored a total of 88 points, well ahead of Aidan, but accepted defeat with grace.
“I’m delighted,” she said. “He’s become a real pal in a brotherly kind of way. From day one I was cheering him on and he was doing the same for me.”
Reacting as his win was announced live on RTÉ, an emotional Aidan described himself as “speechless”.
“Look, thanks to the public for voting,” he said. “Nobody’s losing here tonight. These guys here are amazing.”
He described fellow finalists Garrihy and McCormack as “beautiful ladies”.
“You’re all winners here, complete winners, all of you.”
His partner Valerie said she was “extremely proud” of him.
“I hope that despite all the hardships that you’ve gone through, I planted the seeds of love and respect to our beautiful art form,” the Estonian-born dancer said.
“I love ballroom dancing since I was a little child, and I still fall in love with it.”
Both Aoibhin and Denise were better dancers throughout the competition but it was only viewers’ votes that counted on the night.
While congratulations were offered to the winning couple on social media, there was also criticism of parochial voting.
#DWTSIrl Aidan lovely n 'all, but the girls were sensational tonight....the votings messed up in Ireland, there'll have to be another way!— Deirdre O'Kane (@DeirdreOKane1) March 26, 2017
BREAKING: Gardai in Kerry order 937,000 snack boxes in "systems error" to mark Aidan O'Mahony winning #DWTSIrl ...by 54million votes— Oliver Callan (@olivercallan) March 26, 2017
Aidan won’t have much time for more celebrations as he is due back on the beat today as a garda.
“I put it (the Garda uniform) on last week for Valeria, she was laughing the whole time,” he told Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ radio.
“The great thing now is I can go home tomorrow and go back on the beat,” he said.
“When I put on my uniform, you’re back to a profession. It’s a profession, I’m looking forward to getting back to normality.”